speaking of connections

My last post was a long treatise and I hope this one will be a little shorter. but again from "Textiles, the Whole Story"

When  Beverly Gordon was initially talking about the fact that textile creation in the past has lots of connotations with the spiritual, often in homage or as a result of a ritual for a particular deity. She had a chart of various cultures and their respective deities that are most often credited with  the creation of cloth. The one that caught my eye was  Spider Woman  sometimes called Spider Grandmother  from the Native American cultures.  Spider Grandmother is the "goddess who creates from the great galactic centre and apparently every living being is linked in her web.  She is said to have given us fire, taught us how to weave and is also a protector."

So can you hear my poet brain humming.....  "O" and "oh my" remind me of a galactic event, of the myriad of stars that circle us and  give us inspiration.  I don't intend appropriation. no I just enjoy the words come after the fact of making.

 And that fits with another artist, Kathleen Baker, (I think, I forgot to write a specific reference down) who was struggling to begin making things because she had  studied art history and its countless symbols and movements. When she tried to make something the potential symbols stopped her work cold.  She was advised to NOT read too much.  To make first, then find the philosophies that fit her work instead of trying to make her work fit a philosophy... 

I said Ah HA!!!  MY thought exactly. Play then talk. Go with the hands that position things into a whole instead of starting with a whole that then ,to me at least ,duplicates itself.

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This one was some random colours painted on pellon that I turned and twisted and looked at  and re looked at until  I saw some faint trees and a waterfall and my black pen made the dots and lines that encourage you to see the trees in a coloured forest as the cool water tumbles from the top of the cliff. 

textiles and words

 I've been reading a wonderful book, "Textiles the Whole Story" by Beverly Gordon and this has led me on a musing path I thought I'd share.

I love how thought connections are made.   The most amazing ones make you feel differently after you have made the leap.  My brain loves the leaps and often ,I find, the leaps are not clear until I write things down.  I do a lot of writing in a paper journal and only a fraction of those words makes it here for , to be frank, a lot of the stuff I think is just that... stuff that I think and has no real interest to others but occasionally thoughts present themselves in a way that makes me excited and I wonder if others might get excited too. 

 There is an awful lot of thinking going on through the airwaves about the importance of making things and being creative and how it is important to put that something that is unique to you out into the world.  I agree but I also have a few reservations.  How much stuff that we make actually needs to be seen by others?  Would our  art be more articulate if most of it was meant for us alone or at the very least, a small intimate audience.  To that end I revisit every time something is finished and wonder why it insisted on being made.  And why that particular size!   If you drop by here often you may wonder why there have been no more additions to my Painting gallery. In fact I have thought to delete it, for the wisdom goes, it is not new and there has been no more new paintingso does it make sense to leave old work up.  Doesn't it simply emphasize the fact that I am NOT painting?  Yes, and why is that?   In my mind it boils down to the storage, there is only so much physical room in my house and do I want that storage taken up with paintings or is my art better in another aspect, say textiles. So I returned to painting fabric and fashioning those wild abstract splashes of colours into something different with my scissors and threads.

My two favourite large pieces are called "O" .

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 and "oh My"

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I have talked about how I made them before, and have asked myself why they manifested themselves the way they did. I don't plan work ahead of time. My head works with colour and shape and places the two together seemingly at random. 

Another book I re read recently by Jan Massent " World of Embroidery"  was suggesting how ideas begin and how we can systematically work though the ideas and find the plan that might create the best embroidery from those ideas.  I sometimes think my work would be taken more seriously  if I could articulate the plan that was executed to create the work instead of saying I just play around. And she unfortunately reenforced this notion in her next statement about what happens if you don't really think as you do the work

" before you know it another facile embroidery has appeared demanding nothing more of the viewer that an appreciation of it's prettiness. "

This really sent me for a loop.   Was I just making pretty art?

 There was all sorts of self chat about that idea.  And I stepped back into making small... the wee patches and pieces I've hand stitched over the past few months. 

I've always wondered why quilters, especially, come to say that working with fabric the way they do reminds them of the connection to women of the past.  I can understand if you recreate old patterns or adapt them in new ways but was I missing something by doing my own play.  As I sewed my little pieces without intention about what they might look like or be in a larger sense I realized just how relaxing and absorbing hand stitching can be. it made me relax andsimply stitch patterns and individual embroidery stitches I knew fromthe past but for one reason or not had not occurred to me to use.

Reading ' Textiles the Whole Story"  has informed me. Beverly Gordon has shown me that textiles are important in their beauty and fullness and that pattern and colour with its own placement creates visual excitement and thoughtfulness .  Stitches were used to inspire, to make things unique and to create, sometimes, a symbol of solidarity.  It was the hand not necessarily the brain that fashioned the work first. Often the stitches were placed in such apattern because it simply pleased the stitcher to do it that way. 

that,  "the fact that textile designs come through the unconscious reinforces both the importance of the creative impulse and the idea that textile making is deeply embedded in the human experience. "

What is important for me to remember is that it is the impulse to make that carries me forward, and my impulse is always to play first. Thinking and talking about art comes after it is made as views and thoughts and connections collide in a viewer's mind.    Often I also have a viewers mind in my head as I revisit a piece I've worked on and my poet brain loves to manufacture connections and ambiguities that make me smile but may be illusive to the work except though my own eyes. So the less I talkor think about what or how my work actually wants to say the better.  I leave that in your hands and hope that even though it may simply be pretty, or it has been posted for more than a while, it is also enough to keep you looking again for I never know how a piece might speak with a new voice until it does.

 

 

little bits

So last time I got ahead of myself and promised to show some little bits made while travelling.  These lovelies are scraps I pick up and sew by hand. The whole process was inspired by a book I love  Slow Stitching by Claire Wellesley-Smith.  Having scrapsclose by encourages even  5 minutes of sewing, and I find it is a relaxing practice.  How they combine with other things to make larger works is also a fascinating process and one I'm thinking of more and more as the tiny collaged pieces increase over time.

 My last post showed you one suchgrouping and I am loving the adding of hand made paper from my stash as well.

These ones haven't yet found their way into a combination but I'm sure they will in due course. 

 

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something new from old bits

All summer I have been hand stitching bits and pieces while enjoying the back yard.  I have been wondering just what to make of them but  I have enjoyed the stitching and simple doing immensely.

 I started this, when I took my last trip to London to see my daughter.  Instead of simply writing and photographing I decided I would also stitch.   I was going to wax eloquent about how I'd already showed you some of those pieces but    Chuckle   I'm getting ahead of myself.  I haven't shown them to you.  And I find myself now with a finished piece and the vacation bits will have to show up later, perhaps, after I put them into a larger work.   

This is what I have been doing since I last wrote.  I had done all of the stitching I thought looked good and I liked the pieces in general but my brain always asks ... so what now! 

 This time I went into my studio and extra pieces lying around simply found their way into my hands and arranged under and over and buttons were rummaged and papers were added to the background... Two of my favourites,  a bark paper, and an embossed green and gold swirlly one.   It all pleased me then I wondered how I was going to get it all joined. I punched some large X's and  with some pearl cotton laced the papers together then  also fastened the cloth bits to the paper.  I have still to figure out a hanger on the back but I have some ideas.  And I'm liking it, calling it" tones of the city".

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detail.

detail.

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 After I pressed it flat  I noticed that the embossed paper had created its pattern onto the front silk piece, just under the buttons. It is a little hard to photograph but I think you can make out this happy accident.

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